On November 18, 2009, Governor Patterson signed into law the Child Passenger Protection Act (Leandra’s Law). As a result, New York State now has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the entire country. While much of the law covers situations where a young child is injured or killed, several provisions of the law provide significant punishment for first time or comparatively minor offenses. For example:
FIRST TIME DWI offenders who have a child under 16 in their vehicle may be charged with a class E felony punishable by up to four years in State prison
ALL drivers convicted of DWI must install an ignition interlock system for at least 6 months
While the law is written in such a way that the mandatory installation of an interlock system will not become effective until August of 2010, the provision making it a felony to drink and drive with a child in the vehicle becomes effective next week, on December 18, 2009. It should be noted that the relevant date for the new penalties is the date of the offense- in other words, it does not matter when you plead guilty or are sentenced- if the offense was committed before either of the above dates, those penalties do not apply to you.
With the creation of this new law, it is critical to choose an attorney not only with experience, but also one who stays abreast of changes in the law. The criminal defense attorneys at Pappalardo & Pappalardo have decades of experience in handling all types of DWI cases, both comparatively minor and high-profile. They have the connections and the knowledge of the system to get you the best result possible, but also the in-court DWI litigation experience required to try your case if and when that becomes necessary. Further, the attorneys at Pappalardo & Pappalardo pride themselves on staying current on the law, both through continuing legal education and dialogue with community leaders and law enforcement.